First of all, I'm glad everything's working out in Kansas. I've been praying a whole lot for you guys, and it looks like everything is working out. I'm glad Lark and Mary Alice and Kate are doing well. They're just growing up s'dern fast. Tell them I love them a whole lot, and I pray for them to get boyfriends all the time. And I hope, hope, hope you can bring doTERRA to Kansas. I have a few doTERRA stories. More on that later. And tell Dad to be careful! He needs to stay alive so that you can come visit Russia in 2014!
Okay, so this week's letter is called, "My Body Hates My Mission."
This past week has been ridiculous. Last, last Monday, I went to the doctors and got diagnosed with a virus; you all know that part. WELL, not 30 minutes after I finished the email home last Wednesday, I started feeling a lot of pressure/pain in my ear. I couldn't believe it. You all know how much I HATE ear infections. I could feel it getting worse and I actually started to get really angry. Haha. The last thing in the WORLD that I wanted was an ear infection. I went to the doctor to get it taken care of the next day, and she decided to clean out my ears (same thing that happened back in high school). I knew I was doomed. The pain went away for a bit, then that night I woke up at about 1:30 am with a really bad pounding in my ear. I stayed up for the next 4 hours, sitting in the hall, reading Preach My Gospel, and crying. It finally happened. I broke. My MTC no-crying streak is gone. I think only an ear infection could've done it, too. haha. I called the doctor once everyone woke up, but he wasn't in until 8:00 am (it's 5:45 at this point), so I got a blessing from Elder Astle (his first ever!), which helped. I went back to bed for another 3 hours, then went to the doctor (again), who gave my medicine. The ear's better now. I still can't hear out of it, but there's no pain. THEN, two days ago, the first time I went outside for gym in over a week because of all the sicknesses, I got stung by a bee. I didn't think anything of it. I pulled the stinger out and that was about it. Then the area started getting really red and swollen (seriously, swo-llen), and really hot, and I got a tiny bit of a fever last night. I took some Benadryl, but it hasn't helped a whole lot. I might have to go back to the doctor again this week. I also counted this morning, and I take about 12 pills every morning now. My body hates my mission.
Anywho, I learned a lot from being sick. It was a cool experience overall. I got to go off-campus and watch the news in the doctor's waiting room (WHEN WERE YOU GOING TO TELL ME ABOUT NEIL ARMSTRONG?!) Haha. And it was really humbling. I've been the person to look out for everyone else for the past couple of weeks, and being sick definitely changed that. I'm really grateful for everyone here, though. Everyone from my teachers to my roommates to my district to my branch presidency took super good care of me.
AND I used some of the oils, Mom! Thanks for packing them :)
Speaking of packing, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the package. It was like Christmas. Thanks so much for the watch and the shoes. And the cookies and the mango. And the patriarchal blessing and the letters. Special thanks for Larky's letter. I read part of her letter to my roommates, now they want to meet her really badly.
Things are pretty much the same on the class front. All of our classes sort of meld together over the course of the week. The Russians still coming. It feels a lot more fluid than it did a month ago. The teaching's getting better too. Sister Moffatt and I have decided to skim down our "notes" to just a few bullet points per lesson and let the Spirit do the rest, and it's worked out SO well. We actually committed one of our "investigators" to baptism last week. This was a particularly great moment since this investigator is a pretty surly old man. No one's been able to get through to him. I'm convinced it's because of Sister Moffatt. She can melt old men's hearts like it's her job. We also got a new teacher/investigator named Anton/Brother Hofman. He's a really great guy, except he looks exactly like Rod Stewart/Barry Manillow! It's uncanny! Every time he walks into the room I want to sing a Rod Stewart song that missionaries should not sing. 10 points to whoever can guess which one I'm thinking about.
We also got new missionaries last week, which was a trip. We were SO excited to see them. A few of us actually got a "talking to" for not having "quiet dignity" while greeting them. They're all so cool. We've got a few military men in there too, which is awesome, especially in the cafeteria. There have been a lot of juice-drinking competitions since their arrival.
I saved the best for last. I've been dying to tell you ever since Sunday. I don't know if you know this, but there's a picture of Christ in the main building of the MTC. That's not the cool part. I was walking by it this past Sunday and I noticed it was the same one we used to have in our living room. I glanced at it for a split second and I saw the word "Cannon" on the frame. I looked at the plaque on the bottom of the frame and it said, "In Memory of Layne W. Cannon" and then it said something about his devotion to missionary service. I don't quite remember. I took a picture of it. I was so excited! And if you DO deliver something to the MTC, you can walk into 1M, go past the front desk towards your right, and right across from the big row of telephones (actually it might only be 3 or 4) is the picture. It's so cool! I never knew about it before now. Go Cannons!
Anywho, I'll close this with a quick spiritual thought. We had a devotional about repentance last night from Elder Kapischke of the Seventy. I wasn't too excited about it, to be honest. I was pretty tired, and an hour-long talk about repentance didn't sound all that fun. BUT, it was great. Afterwards, I thought a lot about repentance, and it really is the biggest testament of how much Heavenly Father wants us to come back to him. I mean, he's given us the Plan of Salvation , which brings us back to him in the end, and if we mess that up, we have repentance (which, by it's very natures, brings us closer to God through our relience on him); then, after repentance, we're closer to God than when we started. Even our "punishment" for sinning brings us closer to Him. It's nuts. Alma 26 is a pretty great chapter too, if you have time to look at it. Verse 22 in particular, is awesome. The whole thing talks about the circle of faith/repentance/missionary work. I read it in my personal study yesterday morning, which is another reason the repentance devotional was so cool. We also talked about teaching the Law of Chastity in our afternoon class yesterday, which is apparently a pretty big "thing" in Russia. About 99% of people there lose their virginity by about age 12 or 13, and it's all downhill from there. My teacher said that he didn't conduct one baptismal interview where the interviewee (either male or female) hadn't either had an abortion or participated in one. It's pretty crazy. We've got our work cut out for us. And it's coming up so quickly! Less than a month! Less than a month before I get to call you guys! Less than a month til we're all in Russia. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, ACK! (That one's for Caitie).
I love you all so much. You're all in my prayers. Be good. Love everyone. Keep praying. Write me. I love you!